3d print won’t stick or How to Get Prints to Stay Down

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Today we’ll help you get 3D prints to stick on the first layer.

On my very first time 3D printing (on an Ender 3 V2) – the print stuck perfectly.

Except I hadn’t tightened the gantry down and was watching the entire tower swaying back and forth.


After tightening it – I could not get the filament on the first layer to stick.

Don’t do like I did (and use a ton of gluestick)… follow this guide to get help getting your first layers to look great and the 3D filament to stick.

Hopefully, this article will help you fix build plate adhesion issues.

Why a 3d print won’t stick

3D Filament doesn’t stick on the first level for a few reasons:

  1. Improper “squish” (the nozzle “z” height is too far from your build plate)
  2. Unlevel bed (the bane of every Ender 3 owner)
  3. Cold build plate (especially an issue with ABS and exotic filaments)
  4. A hotend colliding with the print dislodges it
  5. Unforgiving print bed material

Build plate materials that will help a 3d print stick more easily

Here are our top three 3d printer build surfaces we recommend to get your 3d prints to stick without fail.

There are plenty of other options out there with new technology developing every day. We picked PEI, Borosilicate Glass, and BuildTak as our top three picks because they are cheap, easy to use, and have a good track record to work.

3D Printer Build Surface
PEI Sheet with 3M Adhesive Tape
3D Printer Glass Bed
Borosilicate Glass Plate
3D Printing Build Surface
BuildTak 3D Printing Build Surface, 8" x 8" Square, Black (Pack of 3)

PEI (Polyethermide) Sheet – Top Pick

We have had by far the best results with PEI Sheets as far as getting 3d prints to stick. You” want to buy the one with 3M Adhesive on the back to prevent it from pulling up when printing large parts or buy the really thick stuff.

3d print wont stick PEI

These sheets hold up very well over time and are resistant to scrapes, wear, and are easy to clean. After a 3D Print is complete wait for the bed to completely cool to room temp and then remove your part.

3d print wont stick bottom layer

Part removal methods (applies to all);

Small Parts: Just pick them up they should come off easily.

Medium or Large Parts: Tap/Hammer Method (give the part a delicate whack and it should release)

Short or Fragile Parts: Pry Method (Take a wire cutter or scraper to a corner and lift an edge to peel up the part)

Parts come off the PEI surface very clean and have a mirror finish on the bottom side of the print.

Borosilicate Glass Plate

Glass is a good choice for getting a 3d print to stick… if you have automatic bed levelling (or a LOT of patience).

Glass is pretty versatile in what you can do with it and it makes for easy cleanup between parts. It has been known to have issues when printing large edge-to-edge parts. Using a Glue Stick, Hairspray (Aqua Net) or a special sticking liquid helps with this issue. However, you have to clean the glass frequently and re-apply the sticking solution to the bed.

3d print wont stick glass bed

Be sure to let the glass bed completely cool before pulling off the completed 3d printed part. Also

, be sure to program the home safety height as you’ll need bed clips to hold the glass in place on your build platform. Glass is one of the most widely used print bed surfaces but this is quickly changing as people are switching to PEI Sheets and BuildTak type surfaces.

BuildTak 3D Printing Build Surface

BuildTak 3D Printing Build Surfaces are becoming more and more used and are even coming with 3d printers these days.

The most well-known name is BuildTak and these are thin sheets of material to help the filament stick during printing. They come adhesive-backed and stick to the build surface or a thin sheet of metal. These are a great solution and often work too well…

3d print wont stick buildtak

The reason we have listed this one third is that we have found a couple of hurdles with this material. When printing thin layers or when a first layer of a print fails the thin layers are almost impossible to get off…

3d print stuck to bed

We found the only way to actually get the 3d print off is to reprint directly over it where the layers are high enough to pull or hit off.

Another issue with the material is it is easily damaged.

This makes it more work to peel off the damaged sheet and apply a new one. It’s a great choice for bed adhesion but can be a bit of a pain. We recommend sticking it to a semi-thin piece of sheet metal and then bed-clipping it on for easy part removal.


These are our top favorites to get your 3d print won’t stick fixed. There are many more choices out there and new ones are being developed all the time. There are some pretty neat carbon fiber and glass fused materials coming up that we will review soon… So stay tuned for more great ways to get your 3d prints to stick.

Also, check out our post on Best 3D Printing Tools and Hardware Everyone Should Own

Photo of author

Garrett Dunham

A trained Mechanical Engineer and lifelong tinker, Garrett chose to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's engineering proram because they had a 3D printer... back when they were called "rapid prototypers". "The first time I held something I designed and 3D printed, my mind exploded. Just hours earlier my idea was just a thought - and now it's a thing I'm holding." Now, years later, Garrett brings his love of tinkering, inventing, engineering, and 3D printing to the Makershop community.